UK weather: HM Coastguard warns beach-goers after busiest day in four years

UK
People enjoy the warm weather on Bournemouth beach. Met Office said Friday is the third hottest UK day on record as temperatures reached 37.8C at Heathrow Airport. Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Thousands of people descended on Bournemouth beach, among others, on Friday

The UK’s coastguard is urging people to be careful in the sea, after recording its highest number of daily call-outs in more than four years.

There were 329 incidents dealt with on Friday, including people cut off by the tide and reports of missing children.

Friday was the hottest day of the year and the third hottest ever recorded in the UK, BBC Weather said.

But “some people will remember 31 July for all the wrong reasons,” said HM Coastguard’s duty operations director.

“We completely understand that people want to enjoy the coast,” said Julie-Anne Wood.

“We also know that even the most experienced swimmer, paddleboarder and walker can be caught out by currents and tides respectively.”

With more good weather forecast, she urged people to “check and double check the tide times”.

“Put a timer warning on a smartphone to remind you – be aware of things like rip currents, and make sure you have a means of contacting us if things do go wrong.”

She said the coastguard will “always respond when someone calls 999 and asks for the coastguard” but “all we ask in return is that you take extra care at the coast”.

HM Coastguard said of the 329 incidents, lifeboats – including RNLI and independent – were called out 129 times, aircraft were sent out 22 times and hovercraft were used three times.

It added there was a high number of incidents involving people cut off by the tide and reports of missing children, as well as swimmers and paddleboarders getting into difficulty.

Image copyright MCA/PA Media
Image caption Drones are being deployed in UK coastguard search-and-rescue operations for the first time this weekend

The east and south coast and the north west coast saw the “heaviest” number of call-outs, while the area around Liverpool and the Wirral saw the most reported incidents at 26, the coastguard said.

The coast along Essex and Kent saw a total of 45 incidents and the coastline between Flamborough and Cromer saw 22.

Thousands of people descended onto beaches around the UK on Friday, with some councils turning people away.

Temperatures recorded at Heathrow reached 37.8C (100.04F), making it the third warmest day ever recorded in the UK.

The leader of Thanet District Council in Kent – which asked people to avoid four of the area’s beaches – said the RNLI “only have a certain capacity”.

“They’re on seven Thanet beaches this summer, which is slightly fewer than usual, and they’re doing a great job where they are but they don’t have unlimited resources to deal with people in the water,” said Cllr Rick Everitt. “If you have too many people on the beach, it just becomes unmanageable from that point of view.”

It comes as a report showed climate change is having an increasing impact on the UK’s weather. The Met Office report confirmed 2019 as the 12th warmest year in the UK and there was also a severe swing in weather from soaking winters to sunny springs.

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